Friday, December 16, 2011

Having a niece: Kaia Lee

Yesterday over my lunch break I was in Target when I got a text from my sister that caused a noise to escape from deep in my throat that reached out and scared the lady behind me.

My niece said a few simple sentences that simultaneously made my day and broke my heart. Unprompted she looked up at her Mom and said, "I so excited for Auntie Kerin to come!"

And so Christine asked her, "When is she coming Kaia?

Kaia responded matter-of-factly, "On Sunday, for my birthday party!"

Are you kidding me?? I wish I was going. Unfortunately they are in New England and I am in the Midwest and for this weekend, that distance cannot be changed.

Gosh it's so hard to be away from that kid. She is still at an age in which every time I see her, she has changed. Her hair is longer, her speech is clearer, her interactions are more purposeful, and she has a firmer grip on my heartstrings.

Kaia brings so much light to my family. I imagine that many feel this way, but I do not know how we spent our time before her. She is smart, asking to go on the potty and spelling her name all before the age of two. She is left-handed and seems to have a creative mind and a strong imagination as she nicknamed our old Little People set Merry Playground.

 "I crush them with Lightening McQueen" -Kaia
When I was home for Thanksgiving she would wake me up in the morning to play with our old kitchen set. I spent every available minute with her, getting to know her adorable mannerisms, and hoping I could make a strong enough impression that when I see her again, some of it has stuck.

Cutest flower girl ever.

I make jokes about buying her love but really, I do want to give her things. I want her to be able to hold a giraffe, a book, a truck and know that Auntie Kerin bought it for her. They are place savers until I can get on the phone and then get on a plane. So on her almost two year birthday and even though she can't yet understand all of the words I have written to her:

Happy Birthday Kaia!! I love you so very much.
You are perfect and wonderful and I miss you the second you leave a room.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finding the Words: Preparing to Fly

I struggle to find the words to express what it means to be going back to Australia. It is unbelievable. It is incredible. It is something I have thought about, wished for countless times. And what I hope beyond all else is that while we are there, we are able to fully sink into the opportunity we have been given to revisit the place, on the other side of the planet, where we fell in love, over seven years ago.

I wish it was not just vacation. I wish it was longer. Nick and I have talked many times about going back to live for a year or two. It sounds so wonderful but with family and dogs and school, it has not yet happened.

I have said this before but it is not just the start of our relationship that makes this place special. It is the complete joy that we experienced while we lived there. It is a contentment we felt every single day.

I know this trip will not be like last time. I know that. And that is okay. People have asked me numerous times if I am nervous about going back. I understand the concern. A memory that is so perfect, do we really want to mess with that? Absolutely. Nick and I plan to make this return trip one of many throughout our lives. We want to travel there with our someday children. Maybe when we're retired we will stay for a longer stretch. I love the idea of elderly Nick and Kerin surfing in Bondi or bridge climbing in Sydney. Australia is a vast continent (roughly the size of America) and Nick and I want to know it all.

Great Ocean Road


Great Barrier Reef

Five and a half days at work. I just have to get through five and a half days before I get to leave for almost three weeks. I hate that I look at it like that, but it's honest. The fewer days at work the better, but I am starting to get anxious about the task list I have to complete before we leave.

We get on a plane to L.A. next Friday. The days between now and then look like this:

Today: Work. Gym. Shop for Christmas presents.
Friday:  Work. Happy Hour. Plan rest of trip
Saturday:  Christmas party, Christmas party
Sunday:  Christmas party. Book inter Australia flights
Monday:  Work. Gym. Pack. Brave New Workshop
Tuesday:  Work late day. 4 month wedding anniversary.
Wednesday:  Work. Pedicure. Gym. Laundry
Thursday:  Work. Revamp appointment
Friday: Day off. Brunch with Sam. Drop off dogs. Clean, pack - LEAVE.

I have started doing silly little things to start warming my brain, to get myself in the right mindset. I am streaming TripleJ at work right now. I have added Australian weather and clocks to my iGoogle page. It is 5:30am tomorrow and 65 degrees in Sydney.

A few weeks prior to my first trip to Australia, I received the most spot-on horoscope I have ever read. It said  "What you need to do now is picture yourself above the clouds." As I prepare for this journey I am reminded of that quote and am ready to start lifting off the ground.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Options: What I Would Rather

Things that sound more appealing than sitting at my desk right now:

A picnic. Relaxing, fun, and will forever remind me of getting engaged!

Can never go wrong with this. I keep encouraging Nick to pick his guitar back up.

Laying out on the beach with friends sounds pretty perfect.

Don't get any ideas. This represents sleeping, not babies.

Buddy needs a walk.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trot Trot to Boston: Catching Fire

I am back at work after the Thanksgiving holiday. I flew to Boston on Thanksgiving and then took a flight at 11:45am Monday and came straight into work. The whole day felt like a dream, like I wasn't really here.

The best part about coming back was going home to see that Nick had surprised me by cleaning the house, hanging up pictures, and putting up a Christmas tree. The living room smelled like pine and the Christmas tree next to the fireplace made the room so cozy and nice.

Now I wish I could be home on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, drinking coffee, and reading The Hunger Games. I started the trilogy maybe two weeks ago and I am halfway done with the third book. I cannot stop. Every free moment I have, I want to be reading. Trilogies, young adult, soon to be movies- are not usually my kind of book. I am a self described literary snob. But this book has got me! It is well written, compelling, and unlike anything I have ever read. I am attached to the characters and as much as I want to keep reading, I will be sad to finish.

The other thing that has been contributing to my speed reading is the wedding present Kris and Steve gave us. The day before my wedding Kris presented me with a Nook. She explained that she knows I love books but for travelling, the Nook makes more sense. I wasn't so sure about it. Nick and I decided that if I didn't like using it, he would. And if I did use it, we would buy a second. Last week Nick bought a second.

The Hunger Games are the first books that I have read on the e-reader. Kris was right about the ease of travel. It is small and I can hold it in one hand. It remembers my page, I can turn it on and off with one button, and the pages don't rip, wrinkle, or smush in my pocketbook.

When I was in Boston, reading in my parent's basement I looked over and noticed the bookshelf. Two of the shelves are taken up by encyclopedias that my grandparents bought when we were kids. What an investment my grandparents wanted to make in us, updating the collection every year with science books. I held my Nook in one hand and slid the other along the spine of the navy books with gold lettering. My Mom cannot toss them out but when will they be used? How old fashioned it seems to use an encyclopedia as a reference. What will my children think of those books? And that right there is what scares me about e-readers.

I know it seems like a jump but I love books and I don't want them to be a thing of the past. I plan on continuing to build a library. Books that I love, books that I want around, I plan on buying hardcover copies and building an expansive library ala Beauty and the Beast.

I could look past the fangs too with a library like this!
 I have already declared myself as the aunt who will buy books and have started making a list of all the classics that Kaia needs to own. Last Christmas it was the hardcover complete collection of Winnie the Pooh, this year it was the Polar Express and Make Way for Ducklings. I just hope that someday she is not in my house reading from a tiny projecting watch when she looks up and wonders what somebody is to do with all those books.
Kaia reading a story to her animals.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lost in Translation: Baseball

Lost in the clutter of my rough week is something wonderful: We purchased our tickets to Australia!

We are leaving in a little over a month and are gone for almost three weeks! I'm so excited!!

There is still a lot of planning to be done. We have not booked hotels or finalized any plans. It doesn't matter. Because by Christmas, Nick and I will be wondering around Sydney!

One of the big pieces of our trip is meeting up with friends. We will be seeing our LivingIf friends and will be meeting up with our favorite Australian, Jonno.

Jonno and I on one of his trips to the states.

Jonno and I have been sending emails back and forth to figure out when we will meet up. While he's on my mind, let me tell you a funny Jonno story:

In October of 2004, I was on a road trip with Jonno and Kris. If you remember anything about me, it may be that during this time I was in Australia or that I am from Boston. If you remember anything about baseball, it may be that this was the magic year for my team.

I had already watched the Red Sox win against the Yankees and had tried unsuccessfully to watch the World Series. I knew the result of each game but being on the other side of the world and so many hours ahead of America, in remote towns, driving for hours on end in Jonno's little yellow car, it was hard to keep track.

We were driving back from Byron Bay and had stopped for the night in the middle of nowhere at a motel that seemed to be straight out of a horror movie. It was late and we were exhausted from the long drive.

Kris had fallen asleep and Jonno and I were awake and watching a stupid movie on TV. I was dozing off when the television went to commercial. A female news anchor was on and talking about a weekly sports wrap up.

"This week in cricket.... The week in rugby.... And in an American side note, the Boston Red Sox have broken an 86 year curse to go on and win the World Series."

Before I knew what has happening, I was out of my covers, screaming, and leaping from bed to bed. After bouncing around the room, I tried to wake Kris to no avail. I screamed some more and finally settled back onto my bed, wired, and so happy.

It took me a few minutes to register the look on Jonno's face- total confusion. He was staring at me and I knew he wanted to celebrate but also maybe thought I had lost my mind.

So I tried to calm myself to a speaking voice, and in one long breath I tried to explain. I told him about the curse, Babe Ruth, Fenway Park, the Yankees, the almost victories, and what this means to me, my family, my city, and all the serious fans who had waited so long to have this moment.

When I finished talking, I paused and waited for his response. The look of confusion lingered on his face. He titled his head to the side and let out each word as though I had misspoken, "I thought Babe Ruth played for the Knicks?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Always on Tuesday: Cuts

Despite my downer topic, I will only add pictures that bring hope or peace because with every darkness, there has to be light waiting to shine through.

There has been an interesting turn of events. I have tried to post on here a number of times in the last week but I keep getting pulled away.

I have so many things to share but I will start with the one that is most pressing, most obvious, and the most unavoidable.

Last February, our company went through layoffs for the very first time. They were painful and sad. The company is small enough and I have been here long enough that the relief of keeping my job is minimal. I will know who they let go, not just the names but some are friends with families.Sometimes I wish I could lay myself down- take me instead.

It is important for me to know "who" as soon as I can and to share the names. It is not their fault that they are being let go. It is a tough economy and difficult business decisions, and not about the person. Sharing the names, once confirmed, is acknowledging that they were here and that they are not anymore.

Today should hopefully be the last day of this.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Looking Forward: Are we there yet?

I'm starting to realize how often I believe that I'm on the edge of something new. Going back through my blog I remember feeling that way here and here. I am always looking forward to the next big thing. There are so many quotes out there about how that's not good thing to do- life's a journey, not a destination etc. But it's hard to stop myself. Those events, trips, experiences are getting closer and becoming more real and it pushes my thoughts out of my cubicle and to a place that is much brighter.
  • We are going to see Aziz Ansari this weekend at a resort/casino and spending the night. My friend Jon turns 30 next week and he is going to the show with his wife and another couple. Little does he know that a group of us are surprising him and joining him for a night of slot machines, black jack, indoor pools, and stories about Kanye West. Right now the plan is to fill the bar area with balloons and start the night with a round of birthday drinks. I have been helping his wife plan and I cannot wait for the surprise and then to follow that up with chicky chicky parm parm!

  • I officially paid off my car yesterday! In addition to that, I am so so close to being 100% debt free. It is something that I have been working on for quite awhile and cannot wait for that feeling of accomplishment

  • We decided to take our big honeymoon (A trip back to Australia where it all began) in December. When we decided this, winter felt a million years away and it was nearly impossible for me to grasp that we are actually going back to Australia. Even now, typing it makes it a little more real, WE ARE GOING TO AUSTRALIA!

  • Finally the hardest to say and the most important - I am starting to make some real plans to make a huge career change. I want to write. I no longer want to pursue anything that doesn't get me closer to my goal of being a writer. Putting this out there in blog world, regardless of who reads it, is a contract to myself. I have been telling friends in hopes of making connections and Nick and I have had numerous conversations about the logistics. In addition to being handsome, smart, and funny- Nick is also incredibly supportive of this dream and has been encouraging me for quite some time.  

So there you go. These are the reasons that work cannot keep my attention. These are the reasons that I have so much focus on tomorrow, next week, and next year. Wish me luck and I will do my best to be as open on here as I can.

PS: In another move to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to share my writing with a larger group, I have shared my blog with my Mom and Dad. I know it seems silly but sometimes it's easier to write to strangers than to your own parents. Sooo Hi Kim and Bill!!

And because it is Friday, here are some things that are getting me through the day:  

Lambs are not good with direction. This makes me laugh so much!

A really good cover of one of my all time favorite songs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend Away: Play Time


For the third year in a row, I spent a fall weekend in North Dakota. My friend Sam is from Finley, North Dakota- a town of 500 people. To get there you drive four hours west and then another hour and a half on smaller country roads. It is like nothing I have ever known. The landscape is flat with fields stretching as far as you can see, interrupted sporadically by grain elevators, hay bales, and the occasional house or tree.

On this trip we also got to hang out with Sam's friend Ariel. Sam and Ariel are friends from high school. Ariel lives in Oregon and had not been home to Finley in a long time. Sam and I picked Ariel up outside of town where she had been camping at her Mom's house.

 Ariel is very unique, a free spirit. She is very kind and has a childlike spirit. She regularly meditates and travels with a ukulele in a mandolin case. She offers compliments and may be the only person I've encountered who remembers to find pleasure in the little things. I can't recall all of the times she told Sam and I how beautiful we are, or how many moments she acknowledged a simple happiness- the sky, an apple, a bed, friendship. You have the feeling when you are around her that nothing passes by without recognition.

That kind of personality is contagious. Sam, Ariel, and I went around town like little kids. We played. We climbed, we ran, we made up games. I got over feeling ridiculous and let myself laugh and had so much fun.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Friday: Short Day

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If these walls came crumbling down

Fell so hard, to make us lose our faith

From what's left you'd figure it out

Still make lemonade taste like a sunny day
  -Dave Matthews. American Baby

Listening to Grooveshark on a Friday afternoon. I can't get enough of this song right now. I keep pulling the arrow back to the start just to hear the opening lyrics again. I think Dave Matthews is an absolute poet in addition to being an incredible musician. My friend Julie introduced me to DMB in 9th grade and they are one of the few bands that I have always been proud to share as a favorite. The music is as relatable to me now as it was when I was fifteen and that's saying something.

I was just wondering if you'd come along

Hold up my head when my head won't hold on

I'll do the same if the same's what you want
-Dave matthews The Stone

I am leaving work a few hours early today and driving to North Dakota for the weekend. I am really excited for a roadtrip and to get out of the city for a few days.

Also, I have finally caved in and allowed myself to become addicted to pinterest. For awhile I did not see the point but now I am having so much fun with it as seen above and below.
Enjoy your weekend!!

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